Teaching your child to learn how and when to brush their teeth will instill habits needed for a lifetime of excellent kids dental health. The lessons learned at a very young age can mean the difference between a lifetime of happy smiles and dental problems that can be painful, time consuming, and costly.
Like many of life’s chores, daily brushing and flossing are not high on the list of favorite things to do. To make any job easier, trying to bring fun into the equation is helpful. Make a game out of brushing … create target areas and make a fun sound or ring a bell when the child has done the job well.
Many children respond to praise … clapping, smiling, and positive commentary is helpful.
A reward system may work better for some children. The prize should be something like extended reading from your child’s favorite book, a trip to the park, or if they consistently perform their daily hygiene tasks over a period of time, a visit to the zoo or maybe to see an age appropriate movie.
Threats or negative comments should never be used. While trying to get your child to bend to your ways, associating negative actions to brushing their teeth will backfire over the long term.
Your kid’s dental health requires attention from the first time you see a little tooth start to emerge. Keeping teeth free from plaque build-up is critical at all ages. Early on in infancy, wipe teeth clean with a soft cloth. As the child ages and more teeth appear, use a soft bristle tooth brush and a tooth paste designed for the toddler and brush for them.
When your child’s coordination develops enough for them to try brushing on their own, use example as a teacher by allowing your child to watch you brush and floss. Guide your child’s hand, use encouragement, and never criticize a great effort.
Around the age of twelve months, your child should experience their first visit to the pediatric dentist. These early visits will help your child feel comfortable with going to the dentist as they get a little older. This also provides a great opportunity for you to learn the best way to care for your kid’s dental health as toddlers and as they grow.
For more information or to schedule your child’s dental exam, contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633.